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Project Delivery/Streamlining

Recent Developments Archive

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TRB Environmental Analysis in Transportation Committee Newsletter Posted

The November 2009 edition of the Transportation Research Board’s Environmental Analysis in Transportation (ADC10) Committee newsletter includes highlights of the 2009 Mid-Year Workshop held at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va. The newsletter also features articles on expanded metropolitan and statewide transportation planning factors in the proposed Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, a list of 20 new transportation and environmental research ideas gathered from the 2009 Mid-Year Workshop, and the 2009 edition to the Directory of State Highway Agency and Federal Highway Administration Environmental Officials. ADC10 subcommittee reports, research news, a list of committee members, and upcoming events are also covered. For more information, link to the ADC10 Newsletter – November 2009. (12-4-09)

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FHWA Newsletter Highlights Colorado Interagency Partnering Agreement

Successful efforts to strengthen interagency relationships in Colorado for streamlining the transportation planning and environmental review process are highlighted in the latest issue of the Federal Highway Administration’s Successes in Stewardship newsletter. The December 2009 issue describes efforts by FHWA and Colorado DOT to develop a partnering agreement between 15 transportation and resource agencies to formalize the Planning and Environment Linkages (PEL) approach for statewide transportation planning. Key elements leading to success of the PEL Partnership Agreement include establishing interagency relationships, a strong environmental ethic among Colorado residents and agencies, and the clear, user-friendly language used in the agreement itself. For more information, link to December 2009 Successes in Stewardship Newsletter, Interagency Relationships Help Bring About Planning and Environmental Linkages Agreement in Colorado. (12-1-09)

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Study Offers Guidance for Mainstreaming Environmental Stewardship in Planning, Project Development

Guidance for transportation agency staff on the options and opportunities for integrating environmental considerations into the transportation planning process are provided in a report developed under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (Project 25-25, Task 55). The report is intended to serve as a resource for connecting planning and NEPA; improving consultation and data sharing with resource agencies; expanding efforts to integrate planning realms; and as an education tool for increasing awareness of the importance of integrated planning approaches. Background information on planning requirements under SAFETEA-LU Section 6001, streamlining, and the Federal Highway Administration’s Planning and Environmental Linkages efforts are provided. The report also includes case studies of noteworthy practices from agencies across the country. In addition, a brochure highlighting the project summary and a PowerPoint presentation are included. For more information, link to Awareness Guidance for Mainstreaming Environmental Stewardship and Enhancement Activities into Planning and Project Development (NCHRP Project 25-25, Task 55). (11-24-09)

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Report Examines State DOT Funding of Resource Agency Staff for Streamlining Projects

The Federal Highway Administration has published a report on funded position programs at state departments of transportation. Section 6002(j) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) provides for the use of federal-aid project dollars on “funded positions” (also known as “funded liaisons”), or staff at state and federal resources agencies that are dedicated to working on state DOT projects on environmental streamlining and related planning activities. The report follows a study conducted by FHWA and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to assess trends in the use of funded positions and provide recommendations to state DOTs and resources agencies on more effective use of these programs. The study included a literature review and interviews of personnel at funded position programs in eight states that varied in program size and maturity. Findings include common benefits, challenges, and decisionmaking steps involved in developing and managing a funded position program from the ground up. For more information, link to the State Transportation Liaison Funded Positions Study. (11-4-09)

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FHWA Newsletter Celebrates Nine Years Covering Innovative Environmental Stewardship, Streamlining Practices

The Federal Highway Administration has published the November 2009 issue of Successes in Stewardship, marking the 100th issue of the monthly newsletter, which was launched in August 2001 to highlight innovative environmental streamlining practices implemented by state transportation agencies. The publication has expanded over its nine year history to include projects, policies, and guidance that demonstrate sound environmental stewardship. The current issue follows the progress of environmental stewardship and streamlining practices as seen in the newsletter since 2001, highlighting coverage of topics such as implementing context sensitive solutions (CSS) and planning and environmental linkages (PEL) approaches, reducing transportation’s contribution to climate change, and addressing the environmental impacts of congestion. For more information, link to the November 2009 issue, Celebrating the 100th Issue of Successes in Stewardship. (11-3-09)

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Columbia River Crossing Project Highlights Successful Collaboration, Environmental Stewardship

Successful efforts at interagency collaboration and environmental stewardship as part of the Columbia River Crossing project are highlighted in the August 2009 issue of FHWA’s Successes in Stewardship newsletter. The ongoing project, which involves the replacement of an aging bridge connecting Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, includes transit and highway improvements designed to reduce congestion in the Interstate 5 corridor. As part of the project, 12 state and federal agencies formed the Interstate Collaborative Environmental Process (InterCEP) Group to advise the project team on the environmental process. Other successful collaborative components of the project include a unique greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis, an extensive public involvement process, and tribal consultation. In recognition of these environmental stewardship efforts, the draft environmental impact statement for the project was awarded the National Association of Environmental Professionals’ Environmental Excellence Award for NEPA excellence. According to FHWA, the project may serve as a model for future transportation projects because of its successful interagency collaboration and innovative GHG analysis. For more information, link to the August 2009 Successes in Stewardship Newsletter, The Columbia River Crossing Project: A Model for Collaboration and Environmental Stewardship. (8-4-09)

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FHWA Completes Third Audit of Caltrans Pilot Assumption of NEPA Authority

The Federal Highway Administration has published its final report summarizing the third audit of the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) program to assume federal authority for environmental reviews for transportation projects under the pilot program established by Section 6005 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).  The third audit report, published in the July 28, 2009, Federal Register, finds that Caltrans “continued to work toward meeting all responsibilities assumed” under the pilot program, as specified in the memorandum of understanding with FHWA. The third audit – which covers the start of the pilot program in July 2007 through January 2009, focusing on the most recent six month period – reviews the program’s compliance with criteria established in the FHWA/Caltrans MOU. It details areas of compliance as well as areas that need improvement or that are deemed deficient and must be improved.  For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (7-28-09)

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Research Documents DOTs Organizational Structures, Practices for Stewardship, Streamlining

Research documenting organizational structures and management practices that can help state DOTs achieve environmental stewardship and streamlining has been issued under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP 25-25, Task 37).  The research is based on interviews of 11 state DOTs. It identified twelve main themes on topics including leadership, organizational structure and staffing, culture, relationships with resource agencies, investment in technology, use of programmatic agreements, focusing on ecosystems, use of environmental management systems, and process improvements.  The report also includes a literature review. For more information, link to Effective Organizational Structures and Management Practices for Achieving Environmental Stewardship and Streamlining in Transportation Agencies (NCHRP 25-25, Task 37). (6-8-09)

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Report Documents Incentive-Based Approaches for Environmental Stewardship

Incentive-based approaches for achieving environmental stewardship for transportation agencies are documented in a research report issued under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP 25-25, Task 50). The report describes model approaches from state DOTs in areas including innovative cost-sharing, land swaps, or right-of-way assembly; programmatic approaches; Clean Water Act compliance; multi-resource-based approaches; and a range of other examples. The research also describes barriers to incentive-based approaches, ways to assess costs and benefits, and funding and regulatory help for implementation.  For more information, link to Incentive-Based Approaches for Environmental Stewardship (NCHRP 25-25, Task 50). (6-08-09)

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Report Documents International Right-of-Way, Utility Process Research

A new report summarizes a September 2008 international scanning study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, AASHTO, and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program to evaluate innovative practices for right-of-way (ROW) and utility processes in Australia and Canada. Objectives of the study included an evaluation of how those countries coordinate ROW and utility activities with the environmental process. The scan team identified nine priorities for implementation in the United States, including pursuing corridor preservation strategies, enhancing cooperative relationships with property owners to facilitate timely property acquisition, promoting visualization techniques to communicate anticipated project impacts to property owners, and developing geographic information systems (GIS)-based ROW project and asset management systems. For more information, link to Streamlining and Integrating Right-of-Way and Utility Processes With Planning, Environmental, and Design Processes in Australia and Canada. (5-29-09)

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Report Features Use of Accelerated Bridge Construction Techniques in Utah

A new report describes the use of accelerated bridge construction and project delivery strategies to remove and replace a bridge over Interstate 215 in Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of a demonstration project under the Federal Highway Administration’s Highways for LIFE (HfL) program. The report describes innovative techniques used in the 4500 South Bridge project, including building of the superstructure offsite and construction of the substructure under the existing bridge without interfering with traffic flow. The report also highlights the use of innovative contracting, rapid bridge removal and replacement, HfL performance metrics measurement, and economic analysis. For more information, link to Utah Demonstration Project: Rapid Removal and Replacement of the 4500 South Bridge over I-215 in Salt Lake City. (5-5-09)

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CEQ Offers Guidance for Expediting Reviews of Stimulus Projects

Guidance on expediting required environmental reviews for projects receiving economic stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been issued by the Council on Environmental Quality. Section 1609 of the ARRA requires that environmental reviews for stimulus projects be “completed on an expeditious basis” and using “the shortest existing applicable process” under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The memorandum suggests that any proposals with the potential for a categorical exclusion be reviewed for extraordinary circumstances and that “concise and focused” environmental assessments be employed. The memorandum also encourages agencies to use programmatic analyses to consolidate reviews of related project proposals; adopt or incorporate by reference any NEPA analyses or documentation that already have been completed by other agencies; and consult with CEQ to address specific compliance issues. For more information, link to the CEQ Memorandum: Environmental Compliance and Guidance for Reporting NEPA Status and Progress for Recovery Act Activities and Projects. (4-3-09)

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Maine DOT Uses Innovative Techniques in Reconstruction of Rural Bridges

The Federal Highway Administration has published a report documenting a Maine Department of Transportation demonstration project funded under the Highways For LIFE (HfL) program involving the reconstruction of two rural, short-span bridges over environmentally sensitive waterways. The reconstruction of the Lamson and Boom Birch bridges was conducted over the summer of 2007 and involved the innovative use of full roadway closures; accelerated bridge construction techniques, including prefabricated components; and aggressive interaction with the public. The report describes key project details including traffic management, innovative design and construction techniques, HfL performance metrics measurement, a return on investment analysis, a record of technology transfer activities, and lessons learned. For more information, link to Maine Demonstration Project: Reconstruction of Lamson and Boom Birch Bridges. (3-12-09)

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FHWA Seeking Feedback on Environmental Review Toolkit Website

The Federal Highway Administration is conducting a user survey of its Environmental Review Toolkit website, which provides information and resources on environmental streamlining and stewardship for FHWA divisions, state departments of transportation, resource agencies, and consultants. The brief online survey is designed to help the agency determine what users are looking for, how they use the website, and how the site could be improved. For more information, link to the Environmental Review Toolkit Homepage. (3-6-09)

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Peer Exchange Report Features Strategies for Streamlining EIS Process

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report on a peer exchange held in September 2008 on moving complex environmental documents through the National Environmental Policy Act process in a timely fashion. The peer exchange, held by the FHWA Florida Division Office, Florida Department of Transportation, and state DOTs from Maryland, Missouri, Montana, and Utah, identified a series of strategies and approaches they have used to effectively move environmental documents through the EIS process. The report summarizes the presentations and discussions at the peer exchange, recommendations for successful tools and techniques, and highlights of the projects presented by the participants. For more information, link to the peer exchange report. (2-2-09)

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AASHTO, FHWA Launch Websites on Expediting Economic Recovery Projects

AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration have launched new websites describing techniques for state departments of transportation to speed the delivery of an anticipated $30 billion in highway projects as part of federal economic recovery legislation currently before Congress. The new AASHTO website, Expediting Economic Recovery Projects, features information on the planning process, streamlining the environmental review process, design and construction techniques, state DOT case studies, and related meetings and resources. FHWA’s new website, Economic Recovery, provides a series of questions and answers on economic recovery issues raised by state DOTs and a list of actions they can take to expedite project delivery. For more information, link to the AASHTO news release. (1-27-09)

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FHWA Newsletter Features International Right-of-Way, Utility Process Scan

The Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Real Estate Services has published the Fall 2008 edition of its newsletter, which includes highlights of an international scanning tour of right-of-way (ROW) and utility processes. In September 2008 a team of professionals from FHWA, state departments of transportation, private industry, and academia met with transportation officials from Australia and Canada to discuss streamlining and integration of ROW and utility processes with project planning, environmental review, design, and construction to improve project delivery. The newsletter also features activities of various transportation partners, pilot projects, research, and upcoming conferences. For more information, link to the Fall 2008 Office of Real Estate Services Newsletter. (1-5-09)

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U.S. DOT Approves $516 Million Loan for Maryland's Intercounty Connector

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved a $516 million loan under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) for the Intercounty Connector (ICC) project in suburban Washington, D.C. The loan is intended to help the Maryland Transportation Authority complete the 18-mile, six-lane limited access toll highway, which when completed will link I-270 in Montgomery County with I-95/US 1 in Prince George’s County. The ICC will employ innovative open road, variable electronic tolling technology to help control congestion. For more information, link to the news release and the ICC website. (12-23-08)

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